Fire! Few subjects are as fundamental to both nature and human civilization. This reference breaks new ground by going beyond a discussion of the scientific and technical aspects of fire to show how human societies in all parts of the world throughout history have incorporated images of fire into their philosophies, mythologies, religions, music, art, and other areas of human thought and action. Entries cover fire-related theories and concepts, cultural issues and allusions, industrial and military applications, political and social issues, as well as people, events, and organizations. This interdisciplinary treatment provides in one volume a quick look-up of specific information plus an opportunity to explore its broader significance. An excellent introduction and more than 200 A-to-Z entries-enhanced by a topic locator, illustrations, and suggestions for further reading-range over the entire subject to define and explain this fascinating natural phenomenon. Among the essay-length entries are discussions of the pollutants produced by combustion and their effect on the human and natural environment, the connection humans have made between natural fire and biological phenomena with fire-like properties, the use of fire-related language in aphorisms, the effects of natural fires on human societies and the types of governmental agencies designed to deal with fire, the use that humans have made of fire to shape the environment, and the ways in which religions have incorporated the properties of fire into their traditions.